Launched in 1994, only two years after the introduction of the main Vanessa Bruno branded line, Athé spun the designer’s vision into an everyday wardrobe, while the main collection was used as a showcase for more luxurious products and trend-led developments.
This closure comes as the result of a wider reflection on the brand image. “It is no longer coherent with the digital experience. Today’s market is about being honest about the product and offering a strong brand identity, and no longer offering pricing as a split. Today’s client is knowledgeable so it is essential to offer her product with a just value for money ratio,” Vanessa Bruno told WWD. “My brands have always been ‘affordable luxury,’ before the term was trendy.”
Bruno admits nonetheless that an increasing convergence between the two lines is partially responsible for the decision to shutter Athé. “A different road would have been necessary for Athé to continue as a completely separate entity,” she said.
Price points and products formerly found in Athé will be available under the Vanessa Bruno umbrella, coherent with the designer’s overall vision. “Offering items that fit a day-to-day reading of my seasonal work within the Vanessa Bruno brand made sense, and means an extension of the brand’s price range, by offering lower entry-level pieces.”
Without the second line, Bruno will concentrate on fostering a closer rapport with her customer base, such as personalization pop-ups focusing on her famous tote bag, and offering new experiences as a way “to create occasions that build a solid rapport between client and brand,” she said. The designer is in talks about developments on the lifestyle front, although details remained at the sketch phase.
No staff has been impacted by the closure, as they were part of a global style team within the larger organization, the company confirmed. The line’s last collection is fall 2017, which is in stores.